Friday, January 25, 2013

Beginning Tuite Practice

Originally posted 9/2008

  Observers of our classes, often make immediate note of the fact that we practice (Tuite) at a very slow, controlled speed. This often causes concern (if not outright doubt) regarding the effectiveness of the techniques (at least to those observers). The reasons are two fold for this slow speed practice.
 No. 1, is for the safety of the students. No. 2, is for the difficulty level of practice. What is often not understood, is that in addition to the need to understand the various angles, pressures and motions involved with the various techniques. Practicing the techniques at a slow speed is MUCH more difficult to do, than at the more commonly demonstrated high speed.
 When practice is performed at a slow speed, the aggressor can see, feel and predict all the motions that you (the tori) are making. Seeing as how it’s a fellow student, they should be familiar with the technique, and are able to counter-motion to make it more difficult (not that they can prevent it from occurring necessarily, but they should be able to make it more difficult for the tori to apply it).
 It’s very common for a frustrated student to accelerate a technique; just to “make sure” it works. This is a very unsafe practice, and one that the instructors are constantly watching for. SEVERE reprimands are in order if this is a continuing problem (and should be administered BEFORE a student is seriously injured).
 The more skilled a student becomes at “slow speed” technique, the more effective they will be at “full speed”. When techniques are executed at full speed, the margin of error will be higher. The more precise a practitioner is at a slow speed, the better they will become at full speed.
 The accepted rule of practice being “you will do in reality, as you practice in the dojo”. And, I would stand by this statement, but “reality” (read:experience) will show that an individual tends to “speed-up” when put in a situation of anxiety (ie. Danger). 
 Therefore “practicing” at a slower speed, does not (in our experience) deter from “real life” technique execution ability.
As a note to higher speed execution of technique, when a student reaches a level of comfort/skill with the majority of techniques that they have been shown, the instructors will often work with a student (individually) on full/high speed techniques. A MUCH greater level of precision (and control) is required for these techniques to work (without causing injury to fellow students).
 These methods of the technique's execution are very often performed exactly as they are done within the kata motions, which is sometimes confusing to students until it is demonstrated, and explained to them.
 The question of counters to the Tuite techniques often comes up. We encourage students to attempt to discover (any) counters to any of the techniques that are taught. This research will help the student to avoid mistakes being made when performing the techniques themselves. When a Tuite technique is being properly applied, there should be no counters that can be applied to dissuade it's application. Any counters discovered (so far anyway, LOL), have amounted to improperly performed technique.
 Once a student has learned the basics of how to “break-down” an aggressor, the student will be shown methods of continuing the technique to a fully controlled position (most commonly, their chest on the ground and restrained so that any further aggression is futile or non-existent). Obviously, this is for conditions that permit this kind of action (within a presumed “friendly” environment, and/or no need or reason to cause serious injury to the aggressor). 
 This stage of instruction will also demonstrate to the student how the aggressor (once immobilized upon the ground) can be manipulated (physically) to alternate positions or locations. There are often (some) students who will view this portion of the training as being “unnecessary”.
 From our (the instructors) perspective, this is not the case. Although the need to control/manipulate an obviously “hostile” aggressor (without doing serious damage to them) might appear to be unnecessary to many, your aggressor may (actually) be known to you (a co-worker, family member, ECT.).
 We feel it is important not to neglect the “legal” consequences of any possible actions on your part. We also do an extensive amount of law enforcement instruction. For them, it is (far) more important than to the average citizen. As students have been taught these techniques, (most often) they have been shown, or it has become obvious as to how to make the damage (to the recipient of the technique) either permanent or temporary.
 The more severe the level of injury (to the aggressor) is, then usually the easier it is for the defender to perform the technique. Your skill level with the techniques must be higher, to cause the least amount of injury to the assailant.
 As a student moves forward with their practice of Tuite, they will learn that excessive (if any) pressure, with the secondary/support hand (during the execution of a technique), will actually hinder (and possibly negate the effects of) the application of the technique.
 Light contact/pressure is what is what is most desirable and sought by the user/performer of Tuite. This is explained (albeit simplistically) by explaining that the body will resist with as much pressure as is exerted upon it. If you were to grab the aggressor’s hand hard (exerting a high level of pressure/strength), they would in turn, respond with an equal or higher amount of strength (becoming a battle of who’s strongest) If a light (but controlling) pressure is maintained, then the aggressor can more easily be redirected and controlled (whether they “butch-up”, or not).
 The example most often shown, is having the student extend their arm straight out (to the front of) their body. They are then directed to resist the downward pressure of the tori's hand, which is placed on top of it. Initially, the tori’s (ridged) hand pressing downward will be straight and flat, with a steadily increasing pressure being applied. 
 The student’s hand (depending of course on the individual's strength) will eventually be forced downward. This is an example of force meeting force. After this is demonstrated, the instructor repeats the exercise. This time the tori “relaxes” his hand, letting it drape over the student’s hand. Again, the instructor presses downward, but this time with a sharp, yet relaxed pressure. The student’s hand will fall quickly (this time), and the student will be unable to resist. The “relaxed” pressure being applied is not perceived as resistance/force (by the student’s brain). Therefore the amount of resistance is not amplified to the aforementioned level necessary to resist the downward push. 
 This idea can be further expanded with the example of an additional contact. This involves making a third contact by the tori (upon the uke) while executing a Tuite technique. This can be something as minor as a “touch”. Basically any minor contact on another (different) part of the aggressor’s body is all that is required.
 As an example (again using the same example as before), have the uke resist and have the tori apply steady pressure with the applied motion (maintain a steady pressure to a level that is able to be resisted by the uke). Without changing the amount of pressure/force being exerted on the technique/motion, the tori should move his closest foot towards the aggressor’s nearest foot, and make slight but noticeable contact with it. At the moment of contact the tori will feel a very noticeable change (Drop) in the resistance level of the uke.
 These examples illustrate that the uke may not necessarily notice (or for that matter, even feel) the “touch” that is being utilized, but the brain does “note” the contact, and is dissuaded from it's original task which it was concentrating upon to begin with. 
 This is a simplistic example of Taika's “strike in 3 manners” and amounts to “Contact” in 3 places. The more common example is shown using 2 hands “striking/blocking” and 1 Leg “kicking”. It still amounts to 3 points of “contact”. When we practice, either “Tuite” or when working on defensive combinations, this is (often) our goal.
 These 3 points of contact are not always (nor even necessarily) “Kyusho points” of injury/damage. Often they are simply “3 distinct points of contact”. Even perceived motions could be included into the “3”. An obvious example, would be “raising the Knee” (as a perceived “groin” strike), which can slow (and very often stop) an incoming strike.
 At the very least, this can (and usually does) cause the aggressor to move their own “hips” rearward, which (in turn) removes power from their initial action, be it a strike or a grab, though differently for each. For a strike, it will slow or stop, a punch. For a grab, the aggressor “tends” to grab tighter (for balance) while lowering their body weight (to either resist or absorb the knee strike), the grab made upon the tori becomes the uke's balance point (then being more susceptible to attack). Either of these actions will make it easier to perform a Tuite technique (upon the uke's grabbing hand).
  Though our practice methods are different from many of the other instruction methods, we feel that the methodology that we utilize will present the best practice and learning method available for the study of Tuite.

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